We saved the Deutsches Technikmuseum to the last day of our Berlin visit, hoping it would be the dessert of our visit. Evan’s blog post about the day is here, and this is the review.
It was effectively two museums in one – a technology museum, with lots of artefacts (and a reasonable amount of explanation) and a science centre, which was totally about the hands on experience. But I’m going to rate the whole thing together. As an overall point, this museum probably had the least English of our trip so far. In particular, the science centre was mostly completely in German. We are science centre savvy enough now, though, that our very elementary German was mostly enough to figure out what was going on.
1. The Museum must engage and excite – The science centre was better at engaging and exciting than the museum part. But both parts were pretty good at creating excitement. Both boys had a good time, and had to be dragged away. We also learned some things, too, mostly about sailing ships and tying knots, as well as binary numbers and computers. 8/10.
2. The exhibits must work and not baffle – The vast majority of the exhibits worked, and also explained a scientific principle. The lack of english in some bits of the hands on centre was a bit of a problem for us, but not for the very enthusiastic people we saw around us 8/10.
3. A play area should not substitute for teaching science in the museum. The science centre could have just been a play area, but it was very well set up for scientific principle explanation. It was harder to corral the boys into reading the explanation before just randomly banging than usual, but there was a good combination of just fun, as well as serious explanation. One thing I particularly liked was a very clear diagram with moveable lenses of why some people need glasses, and what the glasses do for their vision 9/10.
4. Televisions and computers are no longer, in themselves, cool, or more generally, everything should be up to date. There were the occasional places where age was showing, but pretty minor. 9/10.
5. Museums should tell a story (I’m going to be a harsh marker here). This was mixed – the aircraft and train sections were OK, and the best section, surprisingly, in terms of story telling was the computer exhibition, probably because I knew absolutely nothing about German computer development until this museum. Helped by having lots of iconic large bits of transport. 7/10.
And for the practical things:
Cafe factor: A restaurant, more than a cafe at the entrance, which had OK coffee, and mostly hot main meal type dishes. Not great for a snack, but pretty good for a substantial lunch meal.
Expense: We managed a pretty cheap visit as it has a two for one deal with the Berlin Museum of Natural History. By itself, it costs 14 Euro for a family of four.